(AP) Renowned sports surgeon Lewis Yocum dies at 65
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
Renowned orthopedic surgeon Lewis Yocum, who extended the careers of many big leaguers by repairing injuries that once would’ve ended their playing days, has died. He was 65.
Yocum had been the team orthopedist of the Los Angeles Angels for 36 years. Team spokesman Tim Mead said Tuesday that Yocum died on Saturday in Manhattan Beach.
Yocum had been ill with liver cancer.
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Dr. Lewis Yocum, 65, died this weekend of liver cancer. He is survived by his wife, two children and a grandchild. He is also survived by all those men broken by the game, and by the men and women and boys and girls who knew nothing of the game, ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, or Tommy John.
“His fame was through the athletes,” said Angels vice president Tim Mead. “The service was for everyone. It didn’t matter who you were.”
Yocum graduated from University of Illinois medical school in 1973. Four years later – three years after Dr. Frank Jobe reconstructed the first elbow, Tommy John’s – Yocum began his Fellowship at the renowned Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. As the years passed, Jobe said Tuesday night, “He could probably do the Tommy John operation better than I could.”
He became the Angels team doctor in 1978, “his name – like Jobe’s – became synonymous with the surgery that saved the careers of thousands of ballplayers, most of them pitchers, some of them more than once”:
Jobe, now 87, sat Tuesday night in the executive dining room at Dodger Stadium. More than three decades before he’d hired the young Yocum, watched him become a leader in the field, and do it with grace and dignity. He’d had lunch with his friend only a few weeks ago. They didn’t talk about Yocum’s illness. Yocum had kept it from most all but his family.
“And I gave him that right,” Jobe said. “Dr. Yocum has been my partner for 35 years. It’s almost like losing a brother or a member of your family.”
Breitbart Sports contributed to this article.